SlickLogin, an Israeli startup and developer of smart identification technology through user smartphones has been acquired by Google for several million (the official transaction amount remains undisclosed). SlickLogin was founded under a year ago by Or Zelig, Eran Galili and Ori Kabeli. The company first unveiled its technology at TechCrunch Disrupt held last September. the company has yet to launch their product nor have they any customers to date.
Given the low price tag and the fact that to date the three founders are the only employees within the company, the deal can be considered more of an acquhire than your standard acquisition. Still, the technology is expected to be integrated into Google’s future iterations of their user identification technology.
SlickLogin is a graduate of the UpWest Labs accelerator’s sixth cycle of Israeli startups which ended less than three months and this is the second exciting company of the program’s alumni.
For Google, this is the fifth acquisition in Israel after iRows (the company established a development center in Israel back in 2006), LabPixies, Quicksee and of course Waze.
Bridging the gap between information security and UI
The idea behind SlickLogin is to bridge the gap between information security and user experience by significantly improving the experience of identification with the system, making the process smooth, fast and secure.
Presently, passwords alone are not sufficient to keep users and their information safe since these are often based on simple passwords or permanent identification questions that make the hacking process simple even for non-hacker types.This problem is common among large companies and organizations and the result is their most sensitive information is vulnerable to anyone who wants it. SLickLogin’s solution, which launched in closed beta at the conference, consists of a cloud-based platform that uses two factors of identification without burdening the user with a process involving landing pages or actions other than typing a password.
It’s important to mention that Two-Factor Authentication already exists and is being applied in a number of cases in the market using a variety of solutions such as smart cards, OTP (one-time-passwords) devices and even the use of text messaging as a mobile device integrated solution.
SlickLogin obviates the need for additional hardware by relying on user smartphones, but unlike existing solutions, the company’s system does not require the user to receive a text message or move any given mobile device to their computer. Rather it performs the identification independently by playing an ultrasonic frequency from the mobile device. The system on the computer or any other device analyses the frequency for identification and no other additional identification process is required. If you look at the process side, it appears as if the user just types their username and password, since the rest of the process is carried out automatically and transparently when the two devices are near each other.
Why Google acquired SlickLogin
The young company is still in its early days and has developed a unique technology (patent protected) to make the identification process easier and simpler, a domain that Google is always looking to improve in.
The introduction of Two-Factor Authentication came three years ago in February of 2011 when Google launched the option to use an added layer of protection via the use of text messages or voice calls to provide OTPs for computers not identified as a user’s own computer.
A year later, Google launched the Authenticator application for Mobile (iOS and Android) designed to replace the cumbersome and expensive process of sending messages by phone relying instead on OTP algorithms generated and sent through one’s Google account.
Beyond the significant value for these three entrepreneurs to join the development team at Google, Google’s connection with SlickLogin will allow Google to provide a smarter identification process that’s far more convenient for the user.